Auston Matthews makes parents proud in Leaf debut


It wasn't exactly encouragement.

The 30-year-old British athlete and current world champion says in a post on Twitter and Instagram that "this has been one of the toughest decisions I've had to make but I know that retiring now is right".

Fantasy hockey owners would indeed be proud.

It took just the first three shots off Matthews' stick Wednesday - all goals, of course - to emphasize why the tanking was justified. Even though the Leafs have abandoned Randy Carlyle's method of hockey, seeing them lose in spite of outshooting their opponent and having great possession numbers could mean that they're going back to the Ron Wilson era.

"I'll be remembered for one thing, I guess, for a long, long time in Toronto", Anderson said jokingly.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who was just named Canada's World Cup MVP and unanimously topped TSN's Top 50 Players poll to start the season, is out with a concussion.

Sure, the defensive coverage on both ends of the ice ranged from suspect to catastrophic, but nine goals and a hell of a lot of back-and-forth action made for an incredibly exciting game. Matthews lifted the puck past Anderson after blowing by a defender in the slot.

Matthews gained control of it in the neutral zone, slipping it through the legs of a helpless Mike Hoffman.

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"It was a good lesson for us and it was a good game, probably not the best game we're going to play this year but we're going to take it". Matthews also became the youngest player to score four goals in a game, a record set by Tomas Hertl in 2013. He nonetheless managed to thread a pass through a sea of skates to Matthews, wide open in the right faceoff circle.

Less than two minutes after Karlsson's goal, Toronto's great white-and-blue hope stripped the puck away from a swarm of Senators, neatly pulling the puck off the boards and past Karlsson, allowing Matthews to slip down the left wing and put a puck in the short side past Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. Although I can think of a plethora of different adjective's that can be used to describe Matthews debut, we'll stick with "a special player" for the time being. But the real takeaway for me was how his performance on just about every single shift was overpowering against an Ottawa team that has plenty of talent.

It would make big headlines if it happened at any point of any season during Matthews' career.

Edmonton led the season opener 3-1 after one period on goals by Patrick Maroon, Tyler Pitlick and Zack Kassian. Matthews snatched it up near centre-ice, found Nylander and then took off to the front of the net.

It was the finishing touch on history.

Matthews finished his night with a fourth goal, scoring seconds before the second period ended. "Those were tears of joy", Ema Matthews told Sportsnet during the game. She would do something nice to commemorate the evening. Oh, and Toronto plays its second game of the year on Saturday night against the Boston Bruins. "Just going out and there and getting your first taste of the National Hockey League and living your dream right there it's pretty special".